Nissan, Mazda hold on to sedan dreams

2019 Nissan Maxima (Image courtesy of Nissan North America)

The press previews at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show are a mirror of the market. What was once dubbed the “green” show now has more truck reveals than electric-car news.

Pickup trucks and SUVs ruled the day in terms of production vehicles launched at the show.

And then you have a couple of mainstream holdouts.

Even with the likes of General Motors and Ford Motor Co. shuttering most of their passenger cars in favor of a truck-centric lineup. And even with stats that tout the midsize SUV as the fastest-growing segment in the market.

Nissan and Mazda flout convention with a pair of super sexy sedans.

With fresh designs and innovative technologies, both automakers believe there’s still a market for a well-done passenger car.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know about the all-new Mazda3 and refreshed Maxima.

2019 Mazda Mazda3

This compact vehicle retains its dual personality for 2019, maintaining the sedan and hatchback body styles. But both vehicles get a major overhaul with the next iteration of the Kodo design treatment.

Both interior and exterior designs are simple yet remarkably upmarket.

The big news here is that the Mazda3 gets available all-wheel drive.

More big news: There will be five engine options globally, including three 4-cylinder Skyactiv-G engines, a 1.8-liter Skyactiv-D (as in diesel) and the first production version of the Skyactiv-X.

We’ll likely see it in the US with first the 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G and then the Skyactiv-X.

No specs for any of the engines have been released yet, and the 2019 Mazda3 is expected to be out early next year.

2019 Nissan Maxima

When you have a vehicle that has handsome bones like the Maxima, it makes sense that Nissan opted for a refresh instead of a complete redesign for 2019.

Major design updates include tweaks to the front and rear fascia, standard jewel-like LED headlights, quad tip exhaust finishers and new wheel designs.

For 2019, Maxima will also get Nissan’s Safety Shield 360, which includes features such as automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, automatic high beams and automatic reverse braking. This will be standard starting at the Platinum trim and is available as a part of the SR Premium Package.

While pricing hasn’t been announced, the refreshed Maxima will go on sale next month.

The Bottom Line:

There’s still a market for well-made and attractive sedans. Nissan and Mazda have proven it with the Maxima and Mazda3.